The global cosmetic dentistry market was valued at 33.6 billion USD in 2022 and is expected to grow to 89 billion USD in 2030.
Cosmetic dentistry procedures can range from simple tooth-whitening treatments to more complex smile makeovers that involve crowns, veneers, and bridges. But they all have one thing in common: they can improve the look and feel of your teeth.
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at what cosmetic dentistry is, the different types available, and how much they cost. We’ll also explore some frequently asked questions so you can get a better insight into cosmetic dentistry!
What Is Cosmetic Dentistry? A Quick Look
Cosmetic dentistry is a type of dental care that focuses on improving the appearance of your teeth. These treatments can help improve the shape, size, and color of your teeth to give you a beautiful smile. It’s different from general or restorative dentistry, which involves treating underlying oral health issues such as cavities and gum disease.
Cosmetic procedures might be suitable for:
- Fixing chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
- Replacing missing teeth with implants, bridges, or dentures
- Closing gaps between your teeth
- Straightening crooked or misaligned teeth
- Those with discolored or stained teeth
- Reshaping gummy smiles
As long as your gums and teeth are in good shape, cosmetic dentistry can help you achieve the smile of your dreams. Those with dental health issues, such as cavities, gum disease, or periodontal (gum) disease, will need to first have those issues addressed before undergoing any cosmetic treatments.
10 Helpful Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures You Should Consider
Teeth whitening is a widespread and affordable procedure that is most closely linked to cosmetic dentistry. For those with discolored or stained teeth, whitening is a sure way to brighten your smile and boost your confidence. In general, teeth whitening involves using a bleaching agent to remove surface stains or discolorations from your teeth.
There are a variety of teeth whitening options available, including over-the-counter (such as teeth whitening strips) and professional treatments. Both can be effective, but professional teeth whitening is often more powerful and longer lasting than at-home teeth whitening.
In-office treatments include laser teeth whitening and Zoom! whitening, which can brighten your smile up to 8 shades in a single session. Your dentist may even suggest custom-fitted trays and gels that you apply yourself over a few weeks. Although the procedure is done on your own, the solutions are stronger than those you can buy on the shelf.
While the at-home teeth whitening cost is much lower, treatments that are professionally done are a lot more effective - you get what you pay for!
Professional treatments can cost anywhere from $500 - $1,000 per session, with the average being around $650.
In 2021, dental implants were the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure in the global market. Implants are used to replace missing teeth or fill gaps in your smile, and they’re incredibly strong and durable.
They consist of two parts: the implant itself (made of titanium), which is surgically placed into your jawbone, and a crown that sits on top of the implant.
The procedure typically requires several visits to the dentist over several months.
The cost for an implant can vary significantly depending on the number you need, where you live, and the complexity of the procedure. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 - $7,000 for a single implant.
Veneers are thin pieces of material that are bonded to the front of your teeth. They can be used to correct discolored, chipped, or misshapen teeth, and they’re also great for closing gaps between them. Veneers typically require two visits to the dentist: one for preparation (in which a small amount of enamel is removed from the tooth) and one for fitting the veneer itself.
There are three types of materials to choose from for veneers: porcelain, composite resin, and ceramic. Composite veneers are the most affordable option and can be placed in one session, but they have the shortest lifespan.
Ceramic is the most popular but can take longer to create. And porcelain is the most natural-looking and long-lasting but is the most expensive option.
Veneer cost can range from $925 to $2,500 per tooth, but the cost ultimately depends on the type of material you choose and how many sessions it takes.
Composite bonding is a minimally-invasive procedure that can be used to fix minor imperfections like chips and cracks in your teeth. It’s also an excellent option for restoring the shape of your teeth or concealing discoloration.
The dentist will apply a composite material (which looks like tooth enamel) onto the surface of the affected tooth and then sculpt it into place using specialized tools. The entire process only takes one appointment, and the results can last several years.
Composite bonding typically costs between $200 - $600 per tooth, depending on the complexity of the procedure.
Invisalign braces are made of clear, plastic aligners that fit snugly over your teeth. A dentist takes a physical impression of your teeth with a 3D scan and creates a custom treatment plan. They require no metal brackets or wires and can be removed for eating and cleaning.
The way they work is simple: they gently move your teeth into their correct alignment over time. But while there are many benefits, such as being virtually invisible, you may not be qualified for this type of treatment. For example, if you have severe misalignment or bite problems, traditional metal braces may be a better option.
The cost of Invisalign depends on each individual case but typically ranges from $2,000 - $7,000.
Tooth bleaching is a popular cosmetic dentistry procedure that helps to lighten and brighten the color of your teeth. It’s well-known for giving you an instant “Hollywood smile”. The most common form of tooth bleaching uses a special solution containing hydrogen peroxide, which is applied to the teeth. The solution breaks down into oxygen molecules that penetrate the enamel and remove discoloration.
The difference between bleaching and whitening is that the bleaching process will whiten your teeth beyond their natural color.
The cost of tooth bleaching can range from $300 to $800, depending on your dentist.
Dental crowns, also known as caps, are used to cover and protect a damaged tooth.
They can also be used to improve the shape of your teeth or provide support for a bridge. Crowns are made from different materials, including porcelain, ceramic, or metal. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to speak with your dentist about which material is best suited for you.
They may also be required for those who have had a root canal treatment or cavity filling.
The cost of a single crown can range from $500 to $3,500.
Inlays And Onlays
Inlays and onlays are porcelain restorations that your dentist will customize to fit the shape of your teeth. They’re used to repair damage from decay or trauma, and they can be more aesthetically pleasing than a traditional filling because they blend in with the natural color of your teeth.
Unlike most of the previous cosmetic procedures talked about, inlays and onlays can also be restorative.
The cost for an inlay or onlay can range anywhere from $650 - $1,200, depending on the size and complexity of the restoration.
Gum reshaping, also known as gum contouring, is a cosmetic procedure that’s used to correct the appearance of your gums. It can be used to reduce an overgrown gum line or even out uneven gums. The procedure involves using a laser or scalpel to remove excess tissue and shape the remaining gum tissue into a more pleasing shape.
Gum reshaping typically costs around $300 - $3000, depending on the amount of gum treated.
Composite fillings are used to repair minor damage like chips, cracks, and cavities. This type of filling is made up of a resin material that bonds to the surface of your tooth and matches its color, making it virtually invisible. Like inlays and onlays, composite fillings can be used to repair teeth.
The cost for composite fillings can range from $150 to $550 per filling, depending on how many teeth you’re fixing.
Interested in learning more about the ins and outs of cosmetic dentistry? Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions:
What Is The Best Cosmetic Treatment For Teeth?
It really depends on the individual’s needs and preferences. If you're worried about the color of your teeth, you may want to consider a professional tooth-whitening treatment. But for those looking for an overall smile makeover, veneers, crowns, and bridges may be the best bet.
What Is The Difference Between A Dentist And A Cosmetic Dentist?
The main difference between a regular dentist and a cosmetic dentist is that the latter focuses more on improving the aesthetic of your teeth. This could involve anything from reshaping your teeth and gums to simply giving them more shine.
A dentist, on the other hand, focuses more on overall oral health and the prevention of dental diseases.
Do Dentists Do Cosmetic Surgery?
Yes, some dentists do offer cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening, veneers, and implants. However, it’s important to note that these types of treatments can be quite complex and require a highly-skilled dental professional.
How Long Do Cosmetic Teeth Last?
The longevity of a cosmetic dental treatment depends on the type of procedure.
For example, veneers typically last between 7-15 years before needing to be replaced. Implants can last for decades with proper care and maintenance.
Is Cosmetic Dentistry Permanent?
No, cosmetic dentistry is not permanent. Depending on the type of procedure you opt for, your dentist may recommend regular check-ups and maintenance to keep your teeth looking their best. For instance, porcelain veneers typically last for about 10-15 years before they need to be replaced.
What Are The Benefits Of Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry can help improve the appearance of your smile, which can lead to greater confidence and improved self-esteem. Additionally, certain treatments, such as veneers or crowns, may also provide additional protection for your teeth.
How Safe Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
The safety of cosmetic dentistry depends on the skill and experience of your dentist. As long as you choose a reputable practitioner with plenty of experience in this field, the procedure should be safe.
Do Cosmetic Dentists Do Fillings?
Yes, some cosmetic dentists do offer fillings as part of their treatment options. However, this isn’t the main focus of a cosmetic dentist, and they may refer you to a regular dentist for more complex treatments.
Is A Root Canal Cosmetic?
No, a root canal is a procedure that is used to treat an infection or decay in the tooth. While it can improve the appearance of your teeth, it's not considered a cosmetic procedure. Root canals are commonly covered by most insurance policies.
What Are The Biggest Challenges For Cosmetic Dentists?
One of the biggest challenges for cosmetic dentists is making sure that they provide a safe and effective treatment that meets their patients’ needs.
Additionally, staying up to date with the latest advances in dental technology can be a challenge as well. Another big challenge is dealing with one-off teeth and making them fit into the overall look of the patient's smile. Matching colors and shapes of teeth can be difficult, but a skilled cosmetic dentist should have no problem.
What Is The Qualification Of A Cosmetic Dentist?
In most countries, a cosmetic dentist must have a degree in dentistry. In the US, they also need to pass an additional examination called the American Board of Cosmetic Dentistry (ABCD) before they can practice as a cosmetic dentist.
What Is The Difference Between A Cosmetic Dentist And An Orthodontist?
An orthodontist specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental irregularities. This could include anything from braces or Invisalign to jaw surgery. A cosmetic dentist focuses more on improving the aesthetic of your teeth through various procedures such as veneers and crowns.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Cosmetic Surgery?
The main disadvantage of cosmetic dentistry is the cost. While there are some treatments that are relatively inexpensive, others can be quite costly and may not be covered by insurance or other financing options. There is also a risk of complications related to the procedures, such as infection or nerve damage. But with a licensed professional, these risks are minimized.
What Procedures Do Cosmetic Dentists Do?
Cosmetic dentists can perform a variety of procedures, some of which include: teeth whitening, veneers, crowns and bridges, implants, reshaping, and contouring.
Do Cosmetic Crowns Hurt?
No, the procedure for placing a crown is usually painless. However, you may experience some discomfort or sensitivity in the area during recovery.
What Is The Difference Between Aesthetic And Cosmetic Dentistry?
Although they are both general terms to describe dentistry that improves the appearance of your teeth, there are some differences between the two.
Aesthetic dentistry approaches the look and feel of your teeth from a functional viewpoint, while cosmetic dentistry is focused on making your teeth look better.
For example, aesthetic dentists will use regular cleanings and restoration procedures to perfect your smile, whereas cosmetic dentists strive to make your teeth look better than naturally perfect.
Is Cosmetic Dentistry Necessary?
Cosmetic dentistry work isn’t considered necessary because it is purely used to improve the aesthetics but not the health of your teeth. However, if you’re unhappy with the look or feel of your teeth, then it can be a go-to way to improve them and restore confidence in your smile.
What Is The Difference Between Cosmetic And Restorative Dentistry?
Restorative dentistry focuses on restoring damaged or decayed teeth, while cosmetic dentistry is more concerned with improving the appearance of your smile. Examples of restorative treatments include fillings, crowns, and bridges, while examples of cosmetic treatments include veneers and tooth whitening.
Cosmetic dental work, although not medically necessary, can help boost your confidence and can potentially be life-changing. Whether you’re considering a single procedure or a complete transformation, discussing all the available options with your dentist can help you make the best decision.
It’s also helpful to explore questions related to cost and recovery time so that you know exactly what you’re getting into. With the right information in hand, cosmetic dentistry can be a great way to improve your smile. So why wait? Start exploring your options today!